Archive for ‘American Politics’

March 12, 2013

Book Review: Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century

Intelligent_Governance

Nicholas Berggruen is an investor and founder of the Nicolas Berggruen Institute that studies the development of more effective systems of governance. Nathan Gardels is editor-in-chief of New Perspectives Quarterly, and senior advisor to the Nicolas Berggruen Institute. In Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century, Berggruen and Gardels critically compare the West’s liberal democracy and the East’s meritocracy. Can we learn from both?

Intelligent Governance For The 21st Century. Polity Press. 2013.

Reviewed by: Dennis Shen

Is there a middle way between China’s meritocratic single-party system and the United States’ multi-party liberal democracy? This is the question that authors’ Nicolas Berggruen and Nathan Gardels ask in their provocative book, Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century.

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February 19, 2012

Parallel Attitudes Towards Transfer Payments in America & Greece

Written By: Matthew Oxenford

I’ve been struck by two stories running at low intensity on either side of the Atlantic for the last several months. At first, they don’t seem related. First, there is a notable uptick in anti-German sentiment that has been documented Greece and in several other countries that may need to be bailed out by the wealthier EU countries if the Euro project is to survive (See Reuters article from 16 February: “Greece-Germany tension rises, reflects wider European rift“). Secondly, the Republican Presidential primary in the United States has taken turn towards attacking the social safety net, even though the most reliably Republican regions of the United States are indeed the poorest, and most in need of the safety net (Paul Krugman’s recent article in the New York Times, “Moochers Against Welfare” is a good encapsulation of the trend). These seem unrelated, but they really have the same ultimate cause, one that has profound implications for both the United States and Europe.

The trend in the United States has been going on for longer, so let’s look at it first. Republican political rhetoric has been dominated by the trope that government should not be in the business of redistributing money to undeserving people even while the poorest of the U.S. States are the most reliably Republican. Every year, rich states, like Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York receive less than a dollar in federal spending for every dollar they pay in taxes.

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February 1, 2012

Capitalism and Corporatocracy: Money in Politics in the United States

Written By: Dennis Shen

Capitalism and democracy are often characterized as the twin virtues that have defined America’s modern history and success.  But capitalism and democracy do not exist in uniformity: to be more capitalistic does not invariably make us more democratic.  Instead, there has always existed an intricate balance between free market principles and strong democratic governance, oftentimes counterbalancing one another, that has determined the long-run health and sustainability of a political and economic system.  America’s past success in becoming the world’s leading nation was founded and sustained by its managing this balance between private markets and government better than perhaps any other country in history.  The ingenuity and allocative efficiency of free markets in partnership with the vision and moral leadership of a strong American government helped design the modern world and make it in the image of a fair and decent people.

But this balance between markets and government can break down if not very carefully maintained.  At the core of America’s problems today is an existing imbalance of too much dependence on unregulated, free market capitalism and too little government oversight and leadership.

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January 18, 2012

The Implications of SOPA and PIPA on the Internet

Written By: Joel Suss

Today, Wikipedia has taken itself offline in protest. Thousands of other sites, including the host of this blog, WordPress, are taking part by removing content or by being blacked-out, protesting the first attempt by the US government to censure and control the internet.  It is a monumental and unprecedented day in the life of the internet.

While the stated objective of the legislation, to tackle online intellectual property theft, is valid in principle, the effects were they to become law would have serious negative implications for the internet and may not even be effective in limiting piracy. Here are some important details about the two bills, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA): They would allow the attorney general to create a list of sites that must be blocked. Now here is the kicker: service to these sites may be shut off without a court hearing or trial. SOPA, the bill originating in the House of Representatives, goes even further than the Senate’s PIPA, allowing private companies to sue providers for hosting sites that infringe on copyright, even if it is unwittingly doing so. Imagine Google being bombarded with lawsuits, effectively crippling it.

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